About a month ago, Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. I've created this group as a clearing house of information and ideas regarding Kate's progress in her fight against breast cancer.
We are truly grateful for all our caring friends and want to keep everyone up to date on what's going on. However,it can be a little daunting to make sure that all of our friends are caught up on where she's at, so I decided it would be a good idea to just update in one place. Everything is developing so quickly that it's hard to answer everyone's questions, so hopefully this will be a good resource for our friends to check in and see how things are going.
I'm also fielding some of the discussion to give Kate a break from having to think her situation all the time. This doesn't mean she doesn't want to hear from everyone, because she does. The warm wishes and good energy's really been incredible. It. just helps cut down on the repetition.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kate's Cancer - VI

Tuesday Kate starts her infusions. Bloodwork in the morning follow by 3 hours or so of them injecting 2 drugs into her intravenously. She likely will have an injection port installed for the duration which will reduce the chance of there being a problem with multiple needle sticks. They've loaded up the anti-nausea Rx's up front as that's a guaranteed without them.
What we took away from meeting with the nurses on Monday is:
There's no dietary restrictions, but she's got to drink fluids. Lots and lot of fluids to flush the chemo out after it's done for the session.
They said food can sometimes taste tinny so her palate might change while being treated.
The biggest side-effects of chemo usually hit 4-7 days after infusion. Fatigue comes from the fact that during the week many of her blood cells, white and red, are dying off as well as any cancer cells. All rapidly growing cells (including hair) are attacked by by chemo. After bottoming out, it takes up to a week to regenerate to normal.
The nurses said to skip Ensure because it tastes like crap and get Carnation Instant Breakfast which is about identical in nutritional content.
Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Ice Cream. Calories and liquid at room temperature therefore good for hydration. (Not so good for my diet, but we must make sacrifices).

On the personal side, our history of punk rock cynicism, working class upbringing, and gallows humor I think has given us an edge in coping with this thing. I was thinking how horrible it must be to be raised in some disney-fied reality and then get smacked with something like this. Sure it takes it's toll, mostly for me the running around and such, but I know to my very core that Kate will be fine.
I used to question altruism a lot more than I do now as well. I used to debate whether it was possible to truly want to sacrifice for another and whether or not the desire to sacrifice was still within rather than without. I guess at some levels that's still true, but now in the sense that I really wish I could take this bullet for Kate, but is there even more I might be able to sacrifice and am I just being selfish in some unrecognized manner to where I don't see what more I could do.
Not to be too...whatever, but I'm coming to understand the idea that dying for a cause is easy, living is hard. I could easily take this cancer that Kate's going through upon myself, but the hard part is not feeling sorry for myself and having the strength to overcome/deal my own frustrations, aggravations, and such in a positive, healthy way so I can be better support for Kate.
This thinking occurred to me yesterday while driving with her through some pretty tough traffic and expressing forcefully my displeasure at my fellow commuters. It helped nobody and worst of all, added to Kate's tension unnecessarily. Or as a lesson from Freemasonry, we must try and circumscribe our passions.

With that tomorrow we embark on the second phase of this process.


  1. While I don't feel like I can find enough words to beguile either of you in a situation like this, I am following the blog with the greatest admiration and interest simply because I love you both.

  2. Good luck today! I highly recommend Purple Cow Frozen Yogurt from Jimmy's in Roslindale Village. It's delicious!

  3. I admire your introspection. It is certainly a spiritual trial, and I do think sacrifice is real. Sometimes the little things are all we can offer, like circumscribing our passions, as you say, but that's what's needed.